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Raiders Down Tigers In Field Hockey Rematch Thriller

FH Pink

On a cloudy morning on Saturday October 12, the Scarsdale Raiders Field Hockey looked to defend their home turf against their eternal antagonists, the Mamaroneck Tigers. The teams had battled earlier in the season with the Tigers coming out on top 3-2. In another tightly contested affair, marked by stingy defenses on both sides, the Raiders won what was probably their best game of the season and earned an exciting 1-0 victory. Coach Lauren Barton remarked: “The guys were fired up for this one…. We had prepared for a competitive and intense game.”

FH1Sophie Carroll blows by the Tigers defense.Both teams sat atop their conference 1 and 2 with the Tigers boasting an 8-1-1 record and Scarsdale at 9-3-1. The Raiders were coming off a tough week marked by a 3-0 loss to the number 1 rated Lakeland and a 3-3 tie against unheralded John Jay. The Raiders were sporting their home “pink” uniforms (marking Breast Cancer Awareness) and showed no ill effects from the tough week.

novensteinAndie Novenstein and Haley Matusz trying to knock this ball home in the first half.The first six minutes of the match had most of the action in the mid-field with the teams alternating possessions and looking for an early advantage. At this point in the game Scarsdale had its first opportunity as attacker co-captain Sophia Franco sent a ball toward the Tigers goal that the Raiders couldn’t convert to a score. Mamaroneck then took the ball down the field – only to be repelled by Sophia’s sister – defensemen Olivia. Olivia made multiple key stops all morning long and, combined with Emily Felder, kept the Tigers away from the Raider’s cage. Fellow co-captain Liz Scarcella also made strong contributions to the defense from her middie position, as well as Andie Novenstein from her attack position early in the first half and throughout the match.

The next 10 minutes saw much of the same with the teams moving the ball largely in the middle of the field. The Tigers Ava Gristina, who scored twice in the first game between the teams, almost teamed up with fellow Sophomore Laine Pearson for a quality drive, but they were stopped by Scarsdale Freshmen defender MJ Callahan.

goalGOAL!! Raiders celebrate what proved to be the game winner.At the 13 minute mark, the Raiders were awarded their first corner. After a flurry in front of the Tiger’s goal off the corner – Mamaroneck goalie Samantha Maresca had to come way out of her cage to clear the ball. At that point controversy struck. Scarsdale appeared to have scored a fantastic goal to break the deadlock off a long pass from the Raiders to a teammate who converted the ball into what would have been a beautiful goal. However, after much cajoling from Mamaroneck Coach John Savage the referee ruled that the goal came from a shot that took place outside of the circle – and disallowed the goal. Scarsdale kept the pressure on the rest of the half – with co-captain Sophie Carroll’s shot stopped by Maresca, but with Novenstein nearly knocking in the rebound with five minutes left in half. The last two minutes of the half saw a lot of action as Scarsdale’s second corner of the game almost led to fantastic scoring opportunity if not for the stop by the Tigers Sophie Showers with 1:30 left. The half ended with the Tigers first corner being easily stopped by Scarsdale and the contest deadlocked in a scoreless tie. The half saw a sharp reversal in what has been Scarsdale’s biggest problem – giving up corners which have led to several goals throughout the season. In fact, the Tigers did not have a shot on goal off a corner (or any other reason) all half.

Coach Barton exhorted her team during the halftime break and the Raiders took the field for the second half with much enthusiasm. With only 2:30 gone in the second half, Carroll passed the ball near the Tiger goal and the Raiders almost had their first tally of the game. Carroll continued to put pressure on, leading to another Scarsdale Corner with four minutes gone. Two minutes later, Scarcella led a corner that presented a golden opportunity but Maresca came way out of the goal to clear the ball.

victoryRaiders celebrate their victory.Scarsdale controlled much of the tempo for the next six minutes of the match – with a few chances causing Maresca to make multiple saves. At around the midpoint of second half, Novenstein had a shot that just missed the goal. Mamaroneck had its best chance to score a few minutes later – with eight minutes left in the game – but Scarsdale goalie Angela Hoey made a kick save, preserving the scoreless tie.

A few minutes later the tigers had a corner – but Carroll took the ball away and drove downfield – leading to a Scarsdale corner with just under four minutes left in the affair. At this point, the play of the game took place – as Sophie Carroll took a Scarcella pass and banged it home with 3:45 to play. The Raiders celebrated en mass – pouring onto the field – as they realized that this was probably the most important goal they have scored to date during the season. The series of events was recognized by Franco as she said, “I was very excited to score that goal. We’ve been working very hard all season to get better on offensive corners.” Both teams were mentally and physically spent from such a fast paced intense game at this point – but Scarsdale did not fall into a defensive posture - keeping the pressure on for the remainder of the game. Novenstein drove the ball down the field and the game ended with the ball on the Mamaroneck side of the field. The team exploded onto the field in celebration and the general feeling was summarized by Scarcella: “The last few weeks we put in a lot of time and the team is so happy to have won here.”

The win serves as a major message to the rest of the conference that the Raiders are a major threat going into the later part of the season and the playoffs. When asked the differences between Saturday’s and the previous game against the Tigers, Barton was quick to say: “We were much more patient on defense and more composed throughout the game. We gave up a lot fewer corners.” The Coach also praised her team’s ability to thrive against teams that may be over the line on physicality by saying: “I’m proud of how our team receives praise for our sportsmanship. The referees remarked to me about this after our game against Lakeland and it helped today. Our team plays the game the way it should be played.”

The win against Mamaroneck was the Raiders first against this foe since the 2016 conference championship team accomplished the feat. The Raiders hope to continue their winning ways as they take on Fox Lane on Monday Oc

Photos by Jon Thaler - see more and buy yours here

 

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